* Text Box: Calls for investigation into Kyari’s death
By Peter Uzoho
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigerian (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has come down hard on the federal government and the Nugeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), accusing them of double standard, inconsistency and lack of coordination in the handling of the COVID-19 treatment and prevention in Nigeria.
Falana cited the case of hospitalisation of the late Chief of Staff to President, Mr. Abba Kyari, upon testing positive to COVID-19 in an unauthorised Lagos hospital in defiant to the NCDC treatment guidelines.
The rights lawyer in a statement issued yesterday, entitled: “Time to Stop Official Impunity and Hypocrisy in the Fight against COVID-19,” however, called for an immediate investigation into the death of Kyari.
He said upon being embarrassed and trying to save its face, Lagos State Government claimed last Friday that the hospital treating Kyari was authorised by the state as one of the COVID-19 treatment centres, saying, that contradicted what the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, told Nigerians.
Falana decried the flouting of the COVID-19 treatment guidelines and the social distancing rule by influential people and public officials, adding that even at Kyari’s funeral, the NCDC guideline that mass gathering be avoided to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 was violated with impunity.
He said: “While the NCDC has directed anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to report for treatment in isolation centres for treatment and monitoring, former Chief of Staff to the president, the late Mr. Abba Kyari was allowed to be treated in a cardiological centre, a private hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
“Since then, some influential people who tested positive for COVID-19 are said to have insisted on treatment in private hospitals without official authorisation.
“Unfortunately, Kyari passed on last Friday. Embarrassed by the unfortunate development, the Lagos State Government was reported to have said that the hospital was granted permission to treat COVID-19 patients. But the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has categorically asserted that: ‘As at today, there is no private hospital that has been accredited to manage COVID-19 case in Nigeria.
“There is none in Abuja here that I know of. But I think Lagos is looking at some accredited hospitals and there is one large hospital in Lagos that has called me that it wants to become a Coronavirus treatment centre,” the senior lawyer quoted the minister as saying.
Falana argued that: “Since no private hospital has been accredited by the NCDC to treat COVID-19 patients, the death of Mr. Abba Kyari ought to be investigated by the federal government”.